Coastguard swoops to pet pooch's rescue after 150ft cliff fall
Published 03/05/2014 | 02:30
Coastguard volunteers have rescued a family dog that survived a 150ft fall on to rocks at the bottom of a steep coastal ravine.
Staffordshire Terrier Bella, who was adopted from a rescue shelter, had fallen into Rabbit's Cove in Glandore, west Cork, on Thursday afternoon. Her howls were heard by her owners as they searched for her on the clifftop.
Incredibly, the two-year-old Staffie suffered only a broken leg after falling the 150 feet, but the sea was high and darkness was falling.
Coastguard volunteers from the Toe Head-Glandore Unit swung into action following a frantic call for help issued by Bella's owner, local photographer Emma Jervis.
"The situation was desperate," she said. "We got help from a local boat at Union Hall to try and access the cove at sea level but the swell was too high. We couldn't even see her."
Emma and her partner Clo Reddin's hopes for their pet's survival were hanging by a thread as they returned to the cliff in tears.
Coastguard cliff and water rescue teams were alerted at 7.15pm on Thursday, as concerns mounted over dwindling daylight hours.
"The reason we go in a situation like this is that if we don't go, the owner or another civilian might put their life at risk," said coastguard John O'Mahony.
The Coastguard D-class inshore rescue boat was soon launched from Union Hall. Led by coxswain Carla Nugent-Mules, the crew managed to navigate the inlet's rocky mouth to the shoreline, where they scaled slippery rocks to reach the dog.
Armed with treats, they gathered the whimpering Bella and carried her back to the boat. Minutes later, the dog and her owners were reunited at Glandore Harbour.
"She wagged her tail and she was so happy to see us, it was such a huge relief, they were minding her so well," said Emma. The bewildered Bella was whisked off to a waiting vet. The Staffie suffered cuts, bruises and a broken femur.
"Thanks to everyone who made a call, tweeted and shared the call for help and thanks especially to the Coastguard for rescuing her, they were amazing," Emma said.
Officer in charge of Toe Head-Glandore Coastguard Richard Hurley said the rescue was a "valuable exercise", despite its unusual nature.